Aloe ferox

Botanical Name : Aloe ferox
Family: Asphodelaceae
Genus: Aloe
Species: A. ferox
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Names :  Cape Aloe, Bitter Aloe, Red Aloe and Tap Aloe

Habitat :  Aloe ferox is   indigenous to South Africa’s Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, and Lesotho.

Description:
Aloe ferox can grow to 10 feet (3.0 m) in height, and can be found on rocky hills, in grassy fynbos and on the edges of the Karoo. The plants may differ physically from area to area due to local conditions.  Its leaves are thick and fleshy, arranged in rosettes, and have reddish-brown spines on the margins with smaller spines on the upper and lower surfaces. Its flowers are orange or red, and stand between 2 and 4 feet (0.61 and 1.2 m) above the leaves.

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Endengered  Precis:
Aloe ferox is listed on the plant list of endangered plants (CITES – Appendix II) along with other wild species of this genus.

Cultivation:
Aloe Ferox plants are propaged mainly from seed and head cuttings. The plants are sowed one meter apart from each other in rows and colums. It takes about 4 to 5 years for the plants to reach the first harvest, from the seed stage. At the time of harvest, each leaf weighs about 1.5 kg to 2 kg. Aloe Ferox prefers dry-tropical climates, open areas, sandy-loamy soils, full sun, and moderate watering with good drainage system.

Medicinal uses:
Its leaves contain two juices; the yellow bitter sap is used as a laxative, and the white aloe gel is used in health drinks and skin care products.

The bitter yellow juice found just below the skin has been harvested for centuries for its laxative properties, the treatment of arthritis, for its healing properties and for use in cosmetics. The hard, black, resinous product is known as Cape aloes or aloe lump and is used mainly for its laxative properties but is also taken for arthritis.  Cape Aloe contains aloin, principally used as a purgative, particularly for sedentary or phlegmatic types.  Aloe tincture or extract is very gentle and slow-acting although too frequent use is said to induce piles.    It is also made into an ointment for mild skin rashes and a decoction of its juice acts as a mosquito repellent.

The home remedies with Aloe ferox is same as that of with Aloe vera.

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*Cuts, wounds, burns, pimples and skin problems: apply the sap over the affected parts.

*Spleen disorders: intake a table spoon gel with a pinch of turmeric, twice a day, one hour after food.

*Indigestion, cancer, HIV/AIDS: intake a table spoon of fresh gel, twice a day, one hour after food.

*Constipation: mix the spoonful of gel in a cup of lukewarm water and take it one hour after dinner.

Aloe ferox has less demand that than of Aloe vera. The products of Aloe ferox are merely confined to South Africa, United States and few European Countries. Asian markets are mainly dominted by Aloe vera products.

Precaution: The sap is toxic to pregnant and breast feeding mothers.
(Taken in large doses, it can have a drastic effect, even causing abortion, so it should never be taken by pregnant women.)

Other Uses:
Cape aloe is sometimes blended with other bitter ingredients to flavor alcoholic drinks.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloe_ferox
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_AB.htm

http://davarree.free.fr/Aloe-ferox.jpg

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